HOUSTON — Two numbers should scare the Los Angeles Dodgers. And they’re not 5-3, the score of Friday night’s Game 3 of the World Series, won by the Houston Astros. They’re not 2-1 either, the lead the Astros now have over the Dodgers in the series.
The first is how many runs the Astros have scored in seven postseason games played here at Minute Maid Park. The second is how many runs their opponents have scored. That brings up two more numbers: 7-0. You can guess what that is, right? Yep, the Astros’ record at home in the postseason.
That 7-0 record at home, it’s only happened once before. That belonged to the 2008 Philadelphia Phillies.
Until someone proves otherwise — and the Dodgers sure didn’t in Game 3 — the Astros look unstoppable at home. These Astros seem like they picked up the run-scoring party that was happening at the end of Game 2 at Dodger Stadium, moved it here to Houston and kept it going without much trouble.
After scoring two runs in the first 16 innings of this series, the Astros have scored 11 runs in the next 12. That, kids, is how you turn a 0-1 World Series hole into a 2-1 World Series lead. On Friday, the hits came quick and hard.
The Astros were barreling up Dodgers starter Yu Darvish something mean early. He only got five outs in the game before he pulled. The second inning started with a home run by Yuli Gurriel, then went like this for the Astros: Double, walk, single, single, sharp line out, sac fly, double. By that time, the Astros had four runs, Darvish was headed for the showers and Minute Maid Park was unhinged.
The crowd, as it has been all season, filled the gap between each hit with hysteria.
“The energy in the building is second to none,” said Astros manager A.J. Hinch. “It’s loud. They’re loud from the very beginning. There’s energy during batting practice. There’s great enthusiasm around our fanbase with this team. They’ve fallen in love with this team. Anytime you get the comforts of home, whether you’re going for a home-cooked meal or coming home for a home game here at Minute Maid, there’s something special about it, and our players respond to it.”
This isn’t new. In the American League Division Series against the Boston Red Sox, the Astros scored two runs in the first inning of each game at home. In the American League Championship Series against the New York Yankees, the Astros only won home games. The series took seven games, but all their wins were either nailbiters in Houston or offensive explosions the Yankees couldn’t handle.
“We’re very comfortable here,” Hinch said. “I think the belief that this is an offensive ballpark, that we’ve hit a ton in this season helps. But I think the energy in the building provided by the fans and executed on the field by the players is the most special part of it.”
This is, as proven over and over again, what the Astros do at home. They hit. They score runs. They rattle their opponents. Whether it was Chris Sale getting crushed in the Astros’ first postseason game or Yu Darvish getting knocked around in this one.
And now, the Dodgers find themselves in a precarious position. They used five relievers after Darvish got the early hook. Saturday, they come back with Alex Wood, who hasn’t pitched in 10 days. And the Astros have Dallas Keuchel and Justin Verlander looming after that.
You know what else the 2008 Phillies did besides start their postseason 7-0 at home? They started their World Series that year on the road, splitting with the Tampa Bay Rays. Then they won the next three games at home to win the World Series.
The Astros, as it stands, are two wins away from hoisting a championship trophy. They’ve got two games still here at Minute Maid Park. If it didn’t before Friday night, that should terrify the Dodgers.
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